Voting again after removing ink is fraud, IEC says

09 May 2019 - 14:59 By ernest mabuza
Some are claiming the ink used for the voter's stain could be easily removed.
Some are claiming the ink used for the voter's stain could be easily removed.
Image: @MichAtagana via Twitter

Chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said people attempting to vote twice would be committing fraud and the commission would want those people to be prosecuted immediately.

Mamabolo was responding to a question at a media briefing about the progress of voting on Wednesday afternoon.

The question put to Mamabolo was what measures were in place to stop people from voting twice if they were able to remove the indelible ink on their thumb after they had voted.

There have been reports that the ink was removable. This could have made it possible for a person who had voted to vote at another station.

The question to Mamabolo was whether the "zip zip" machine - the scanner used by the IEC to check whether people are on the voters' roll before they vote - is able to detect if a person has already voted if they pitch up to vote at a different voting station.

Mamabolo admitted that the machine was not connected to a live network and operated as a separate localised machine. This meant it could not detect whether a person had voted at another station.

"The intention of the use of the zip zip is to facilitate the voting process at the specific voting station - placing the sequential number of the voter on the voters’ roll on one hand and, second, helping with the administration of the section 24(a) voting process, which is voting outside of one's voting district of registration."

Mamabolo said if there were people who were attempting to double-vote, that was a fraudulent activity and would not be countenanced.

"To that extent if there is any evidence of anyone having attempted or having factually voted twice, we would want those people immediately prosecuted," Mamabolo said.

Mamabolo said for the future, the commission – together with political parties, would have to reconsider how the commission applied the section 24(a) voting procedure because it undermined the ability for planning.

Mamabolo said the IEC provisioned a voting station in accordance with the numbers of people registered, yet there remained the possibility that more than the people who were registered at the station might vote on the day - and this threw the commission’s logistical distribution into disarray.

"The issue of whether people can vote twice has to be evaluated against other measures that are in-built into the process, such as the use of the voters' roll and crossing off of people's names and so on.

He said the inking of thumbnails was an important safeguard in the process.